Dodgers News: Howie Kendrick Comfortable Anywhere In Batting Order

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, the Los Angeles Dodgers have traded in offense to improve defensively this winter. Gone are Dee Gordon and his MLB-best 12 triples and 64 stolen bases; Matt Kemp’s power and post All-Star Game .971 OPS; and Hanley Ramirez’s .369 on-base percentage, .448 slugging percentage and .817 OPS — categories in which he led all shortstops.

While Howie Kendrick, a new face to the Dodgers, doesn’t have Gordon’s speed or Kemp’s power, he’s a competent batter who will be counted on to fill the offensive void that’s been left. Given that the Dodgers lost multiple bats in the order, it isn’t yet clear where manager Don Mattingly will insert Kendrick into the lineup.

That isn’t a concern of Kendrick’s, however. “I don’t get offended by being one, eight, nine,” he said Friday while also mentioning he finished last season batting cleanup. “As long as you’re playing, that’s all that matters.”

Throughout his nine-year career with the Angels, Kendrick has hit at least .304 when batting sixth, seventh or eighth. A breakdown of his career splits is provided below, with Kendrick’s stats when batting ninth omitted due to his moving to the National League.

Batting Order Games PA Batting Avg. OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Home Runs RBIs
First 27 118 .238 .316 .305 .621 67 2 12
Second 182 815 .264 .300 .409 .709 87 17 86
Third 38 160 .238 .277 .364 .641 69 5 19
Fourth 52 211 .294 .336 .467 .803 111 5 36
Fifth 204 853 .292 .341 .396 .737 96 8 70
Sixth 263 1,070 .304 .336 .435 .771 104 18 132
Seventh 199 801 .313 .352 .452 .804 113 19 85
Eighth 77 103 .327 .358 .489 .847 123 3 45

Last season, Kendrick hit first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in the Angels’ order. His best slash came in 39 games (161 plate appearances) as the cleanup hitter — .320/.366/.513 with four home runs and 28 RBIs, both of which were his best totals among the spots in the lineup he hit from.

Where Kendrick spent the most time in Mike Scioscia’s lineup was batting fifth (57 games, 243 PA). In those instances, Kendrick slashed .308/.358/.406 to go with two home runs and 21 RBIs. Given Jimmy Rollins’ and Yasiel Puig’s presence on the team, Kendrick doesn’t figure to bat first or second in the order for the Dodgers.

A more likely scenario has the 31-year-old second baseman batting cleanup behind Adrian Gonzalez, which will give the Dodgers alternating left and right-handed hitters through the first four spots in the order; Rollins being the wild card as a switch hitter and potential leadoff man.


Dodgers Introduce Howie Kendrick — Part 1

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    1. I agree. (Although, I might have asked for “runs” instead of “points”. 😉
      Anyway, Howie is a steady 2nd baseman and will never cost the Dodgers a game with his defense. He averages about 10 homers and 70 rbi’s a year. He’s not gonna pressure the defense and steal bases like Gordon.
      If he could pick up that rbi total, that would be nice.

  1. I see the most likely lineup being as follows (at least, against RHP):

    SS Rollins
    LF Crawford
    RF Puig
    1B Gonzalez
    2B Kendrick
    C Grandal
    3B Uribe
    CF Pederson
    P Kershaw

    This has a nice balance of R-L-R-L alternation, speed, power, OBP and contact skills. I also think that as the season progresses, Joc will rise in the batting order as he gets more accustomed to major league pitching. I didn’t include Ethier because I feel like he’s as good as gone, and we’ll probably see SVS, Heisley & maybe even Guerrero get in there to platoon w/ some of the LHHs when a tough lefty is on the mound for the other team. JMHO.

    1. I think it will look more like this:

      SS Rollins
      LF Crawford
      CF Puig
      1B Gonzalez
      2B Kendrick
      RF Ethier
      3B Uribe
      C Ellis
      P Kershaw

      This too would have a good lefty-righty balance. This would also be a great defensive lineup. However, it would lack power obviously. But I think they want to go with a veteran lineup. I see Grandal being the backup to Ellis but starting upwards of 70 games. I also see Pederson starting in the minors again with Van Slyke being the main outfield sub (at least until later in the season). I think making Ethier the everyday right fielder would being out the All Star in him again.

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